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LegalGround >> Copyright question


12/6/08 10:44 PM
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RedDragonUK
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Let's say Mr Green wants to base a sports graphic novel on a sports Japanese graphic novel/cartoon series. How different does Mr Green have to make the graphic novel not to get sued? I mean lets say he just wants to use the plot, he'd change the characters likeness, the country,some of the storyline and even the sport its based on.


Could he still get fined for this? What if he acknowledges the source material and states its "based on" the Japanese series?

Sorry it's a lot of questions but I err I mean Mr Green is pretty clueless about this stuff, he did google it but got more confused.
12/7/08 2:43 AM
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jbapk
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Your work has to be original, and have more then de minimus differences from what you're copying (US, not sure about UK.) It's hard to define exactly, but you have to copy both the idea, and the expression. If you have a stock story or character idea, like a young guy starting out in his sport and moving up the levels of competition and so on, that's such a general idea you can't copyright it. If you're copying every supporting character, every fight, etc, you're walking the line.

Just giving credit isn't enough, if you do violate copyright you've got to pay $$$.
12/8/08 4:20 PM
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Dojosensei
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ok, what if you have a design that hasn't been done in the past like that for say an mma cage. You're the only one doing it that way and a couple of years later someone else starts doing it as well but changes a couple of MINOR things but the concept is still the same.

Do you have recourse on this?
12/8/08 9:06 PM
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jbapk
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Dojosensei - ok, what if you have a design that hasn't been done in the past like that for say an mma cage. You're the only one doing it that way and a couple of years later someone else starts doing it as well but changes a couple of MINOR things but the concept is still the same.

Do you have recourse on this?


That would more likely be a patent or a trademark case, do you have a patent on the cage (I'm guessing not), as for trademark that's probably so common as to not be trademarkable.
12/8/08 9:46 PM
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Dojosensei
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No actually it isn't common at all. For almost 2 yrs I've been the only one that has built a cage that way. Wrestling rings and boxing rings as well. None of them used that type of system.

Patent no, defnitely proof of timeline for intellectual property claim, yes.
12/8/08 10:55 PM
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jbapk
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"Patent no, defnitely proof of timeline for intellectual property claim, yes."

Well, what type of intellectual property claim?

It's not a copyright, it's not a patent.

Were you the originator of the cage, or did you copy it from someone else? It's possible if it's a unique design, and your company is uniquely identified by it, you might have a trademark. Trademark comes down whether the other parties use would confuse consumers as to the source of the goods or product. Maybe in your situation that might be true.
12/9/08 10:52 AM
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Dojosensei
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No, the originator.
12/9/08 11:08 AM
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BarkLikeADog
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dojo:

Forget it.

rduk: You will have to get very specific to get legitimate advice. More specific than you should be willing to get here. Generally speaking, "based on" = negotiating a $ value with the original copyright/trademark owners, while reinterpration is usually AOK. ex: Star Wars is a reinterpretation of Hidden Fortress.
12/11/08 11:54 AM
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Trust
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RedDragonUK - Let's say Mr Green wants to base a sports graphic novel on a sports Japanese graphic novel/cartoon series. How different does Mr Green have to make the graphic novel not to get sued? 

 To not get sued?  It has to have virtually no relation whatsoever, or be a commercial flop.

JK Rowling got sued because she used a few character names similar to something another author used. 

If you have a big commercial success, there is a high likelihood you're going to get sued if your work has any resemblance to someone else's work. 

How do you win when you are sued is another matter.. .

Dojo, you might have had a patentable invention there, but public use has likely barred your ability to patent it now.  In the US you have a 1 yr time from first public disclosure that you need to file a patent application. 
12/12/08 1:20 AM
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RedDragonUK
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Thanks guys, this is very inciteful. The reinterpretation is the way to go I think and I will have to redefine a lot of it definitely.
12/12/08 4:16 AM
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BarkLikeADog
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Edited: 12/12/08 11:49 AM
Member Since: 10/11/05
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^Just a reminder regarding the disclaimer on the main page: Definitely consult a paid copyright attorney in your area before selling your book or even committing a great deal of time to it.
12/14/08 12:43 AM
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RedDragonUK
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Okay thankyou. Are they expensive usually? I think I may just be as different as possible aswell after reading this. I mean its pretty different as it is but just to be safe.

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